Since Colin Kaepernick first kneeled during the 2016 NFL season, sports fans and critics alike have taken part in debates about the national anthem and whether or not it is "disrespectful." Now a poll has taken the discussion to another level. A slight majority of registered voters expressed the opinion that it "is appropriate" to kneel during the national anthem.
A recent Hill-HarrisX poll took place online between July 26 and 27, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.18 percentage points. In this poll, 53% of registered voters expressed the opinion that it is appropriate to kneel. The remaining 47% disagreed and said that kneeling is not appropriate. The poll further revealed that 76% of Democratic voters supported kneeling, as did 52% of independent voters. The majority of Republican voters disagreed, with 73% opposing the kneeling.
According to the recent poll, the majority of minority voters showed support for kneeling during the national anthem or during sports events. This includes 86% of Black voters and 68% of Hispanic voters. In contrast, only 43% of White voters expressed the opinion that kneeling is appropriate.
The debate first became a national story when Kaepernick kneeled in 2016, but they have become more intense in recent months. When George Floyd — a Black man from Houston — died while in police custody in late May, many athletes responded by speaking out about social injustices. A large majority across major leagues pledged to kneel during the national anthem while many others took part in protest marches around the country.
Since sports returned amid the COVID-19 pandemic, players have continued to kneel. Many have worn shirts or facemasks with "Black Lives Matter" text. The NBA, in particular, painted Black Lives Matter on the courts down in the Orlando bubble.
Viewers have strongly responded to the messages on the shirts, as well as the kneeling. Many have expressed support while others have criticized those participating. A third group, however, has done a little of both. They have expressed support for kneeling and racial equality but called Black Lives Matter a "Marxist organization."
The debate is not a simple issue, and people around the world have proven this in recent months. The poll further proves this point by showing that registered voters are nearly split down the middle. Ultimately, the results of the poll won't affect the plans of the athletes as they continue to kneel and stand alike prior to matches.